Barefoot vets show their worth
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CTA. 1995. Barefoot vets show their worth. Spore 57. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47077
In 1987, the first barefoot vets in Kenya were trained by the Intermediate Technology Group in Meru district. Now the area has a total of 80 'wasaidizi wa mifugo' - helpers of livestock. The programme has been copied in other parts of the country,...
In 1987, the first barefoot vets in Kenya were trained by the Intermediate Technology Group in Meru district. Now the area has a total of 80 'wasaidizi wa mifugo' - helpers of livestock. The programme has been copied in other parts of the country, and more than 300 are now providing farmers with an essential service. Population growth in the eighties forced the Meru farmers to look for more profitable crops and livestock. They bought improved animals, but soon found they were very susceptible to disease. Traditional medicines were not effective. Unfortunately, just when the farmers needed help most, the government had to cut back on extension services. This prompted the Catholic Diocese and the Intermediate Technology Development Group to adapt the Chinese system of 'raining 'barefoot doctors'. Villagers chose one of their number to be trained in diagnosing common diseases and their treatment. At the end of the course each trainee was given, on loan, a kit of simple medicines. Within a short period of time the wasaidizi proved their worth. Most of them work part-time, but they manage to treat over 100 animals a month. Farmers see the benefits as they have continued to pay for the service, while the wasaidizi also benefit financially with average earnings of about Ksh230 per month which is the equivalent of seven days casual labour. The programme had been organized from the Kamujini Farmer's Centre, but in 1993 the Diocese of Meru shut the Centre down. This coincided with a further reduction of government veterinary services, and both these events brought some uncertainty to the project. A loan from, and training by, ITDG for someone to set up a commercial venture in veterinary products has brought some continuity. Despite the setbacks there is no doubt that village animal healthcare has caught on throughout the country with over 300 wasaidizi now providing veterinary care where it is most needed. ITDG PO Box 39493 Nairobi KENYA